Causes of Acid Reflux

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Acid reflux sufferers know that the disease can be very uncomfortable, even downright painful. Many face an attack of acid reflux regularly, but aren’t sure exactly why they find themselves suffering. A lack of understanding about the condition can actually make it worse, so it’s a good idea to understand the causes of acid reflux in order to prevent future attacks.

What Causes Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux occurs when there is an increase in acid in the esophagus. Acid that normally remains in the stomach enters the esophagus, creating the painful burning sensation. Over time, the acid can damage the esophagus, so it is important to treat the disease properly, and not simply cure the symptoms. In order to find the best treatment, it is important to know the causes of acid reflux. There are several known causes of reflux, and each cause should be addressed when seeking treatment.

Eating heavy meals, or eating acid reflux trigger foods

Eating heavy meals puts pressure on the valve at the top of the stomach, causing it to weaken and allow acid to enter the esophagus. Lying down after eating can also do this, and should be avoided, especially if there is a history of reflux. Smaller, more frequent meals should help prevent reflux in most cases.

Pregnancy

The pressure of the fetus pushing against the stomach, coupled with an increase in hormones, can cause acid reflux, especially in the third trimester. There are not a lot of treatment options for this, but the reflux almost always clears up after the birth of the baby.

Trigger Foods

Some foods can trigger an acid reflux attack. Spicy foods such as chilies and curries are common trigger foods, but even chocolate and coffee can cause an episode of reflux. Other known culprits are alcohol, mint, fatty and fried foods, and citrus foods. Avoiding these foods can help eliminate the acid reflux, and the foods may be added back to the diet later on, if the reflux does not reoccur.

Smoking

Smokers have a high incidence of acid reflux. This is because the smoke from cigarettes damages the esophagus and reduces the amount of saliva present in the throat, an important factor for neutralizing acid. Smokers are also at higher risk of developing esophageal cancer, and acid reflux can increase the chance of cancer developing.

Being Overweight

Being overweight can cause acid reflux to develop. Obesity causes extra pressure on the stomach, causing the valve to weaken, and letting acid escape to the esophagus. Losing weight, even just a few pounds, can cause relief from acid reflux.

Hernias

Hiatal hernias are stomach abnormalities where the upper part of the stomach moves above the diaphragm. This can cause acid to enter the esophagus and cause reflux pain. Hernias can be treated through surgery, and this usually eliminates the acid reflux problem as well.

Most causes of acid reflux are easily avoided with simple lifestyle changes. Eating a balanced diet, avoiding excess alcohol and fatty foods, and stopping smoking can all provide relief from the disease. Also, maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent acid reflux from occurring.

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One Comment/Review

  • Jeremy says:

    Sure, just a little soduim bicarbonate in water will do the trick and be all natural at the same time, just like salt is all natural. Sodium Bicarbonate is the active ingredient in over the counter things like Tums or Rolaids. It is a myth that acid neutralizers like which work on the existing stomach acid causes the stomach to make more. There are some hardcore acid reflux drugs that cause that compensation effect. Just a small amount out of that red and yellow box with the arm and hammer on the side that you let sit in the fridge to absorb odors is all you need. Sometimes, if I’ve been out for a late dinner and go to bed early, I will drink a glass of water with a teaspoon just before I retire so as to prevent too much acid. This is the problem that Alka-Seltzer (Plop plop fizz fizz Oh what a relief it is) used to promote in their commercials. I found simple bicarb works just as well and at a fraction of the cost. You only need a little, a level teaspoon or less in a glass of water. It will taste a little salty as it reacts with the acid in your saliva, which is nothing to worry about. And you will burp a bit as CO2 forms as the bicarb reacts with the stomach acid. Again, nothing to worry about.

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